Silver Swirl's Guest
Princess Silver Swirl
The sky was blue, the sand was brownish, the sea was gray-blue-green, and the towers
and flags of Friendship Castle could be seen
in the distance. It was certainly an ordinary sight for Princess Silver Swirl, but her new friend
Sandstone looked as if he had just stepped into another
world-- as indeed he had.
"Skies above, it's incredible," the stallion breathed.
"Skies above," Silver Swirl repeated, smiling at how the simple phrase could convey
"It was Mother's favorite expression," Sandstone explained as the two ponies walked
across the beach, a Mew and a dragon drifting
behind them. "Wish doesn't like me to use it, but she isn't here now!" The mischievous glee on
her friend's face surprised Silver Swirl; Sandstone
was normally a very solemn pony.
"Well, I hope you have fun here," replied Silver Swirl. She made a face. "It certainly
took me long enough to persuade your sister
to let you come." Sandstone's face suddenly looked guilty.
"I'm really sorry if it ruined your vacation," he apologized.
"Oh, no, it wasn't that big of a deal. And it was worth it," the unicorn responded
quickly. Sandstone tripped over a large seashell
and Silver Swirl helped him regain his balance, only to have him trip again.
"I thought you were so graceful!" laughed Silver Swirl. Sandstone grinned.
"Nope, that's only because I'd trodden on practically every blade of grass on the island
millions of times," he explained, proving the
fact by stumbling as the two began to climb a sand dune.
"A kindred spirit!" Silver Swirl exclaimed. "I'm a member of the Klutz Club, too."
"One of the founding members," Jade the dragon spoke into the minds of the others.
Silver Swirl playfully swatted Jade with her
tail. Sandstone joined in.
"Hey, what was that for?" demanded Jade.
"All the times you swatted me when you were a pony!" answered Sandstone with a
"Well, I never thought you'd swat back!" The little dragon dodged to avoid the two
swishing tails as the foursome left the beach
and started walking on the road.
* * *
The walk took longer than Silver Swirl had expected because Sandstone needed every
building, pony, and water fountain described
to him in detail. Silver Swirl obliged him, wanting to make his long-awaited stay enjoyable.
Besides, it was interesting to look at her world from
another perspective. Jade and Melisande had apparently never been told the value of perspective;
they groaned simultaneously when Sandstone asked
the purpose and/or ceremonial value of a park bench.
"It's a bench. A place to sit." Silver Swirl noticed that, despite her philosophy, her
explanations were getting shorter by the minute.
Sandstone sat down gingerly on the bench, smiling when nothing dreadful happened to him.
"But why do you sit on this hard stuff? Cushions or even the ground are a lot more
comfortable." Silver Swirl shrugged, not really
in the mood to debate the details of her society.
"Well, if they put out cushions someone might take them, and they'd get ruined in the
rain." Sandstone nodded, got up from the
bench and continued walking. Silver Swirl sighed and followed.
"Well, here's the palace-- my home," she announced when they reached that illustrious
"Amazing," Sandstone murmured. "It's made of rock! And it's so big!" The home of
the Friendship Gardens royalty was certainly
very solid-looking compared to the low stucco houses of Sunset Island. Silver Swirl led the way
in, holding the heavy front door open for her
* * *
"Why don't you relax in the library for a minute while I wink to the kitchen to get us a
snack?" Silver Swirl suggested, seeing that
Sandstone looked rather overwhelmed by the impressive surroundings. She winked away, leaving
Jade and Melisande to help Sandstone get to the
"Hmm," the unicorn frowned in thought, grabbing a tray. "Lemonade... a couple of
apples... and some cookies." Collecting the
desired items and loading them onto the tray, she considered how to explain Sandstone's presence
to the other princesses. She had thought out a
plausible story by the time she winked back to the library.
The scene she found there made her smile. Jade and Melisande were playing catch in
the air directly above Sandstone with a large
dictionary, while the oblivious stallion gazed at a book called "The Odyssey of Otto the Otter: An
"Snack delivery!" she broke the silence. Sandstone looked up from the book, and the
dictionary thudded to the ground next to him.
Jade and Melisande rushed towards the food, which Silver Swirl set down on a coffee table.
"You know," remarked Sandstone, "this was what my mother wanted to name me." He
gestured to the book.
"Otto?" questioned Silver Swirl.
"No, Odyssey," corrected her friend.
"Why didn't she, then? Did your father veto it?"
"Yeah. It was about the only time he refused her something. He used to want to leave
the island too, you see, and he didn't like
anything that reminded him that he'd changed."
"Really," Silver Swirl raised her eyebrows. The subject of Reverie, Sandstone's explorer
mother whom Silver Swirl supposedly
resembled in personality, always intrigued the unicorn.
"She used to tell him stories about faraway lands when they were foals. Wonderful
stories they were, like the one about the land
where it was always night and all of the ponies went around with candles on their heads." He
smiled and so did Silver Swirl. "They made a promise
that someday they'd go adventuring together. But..." he shrugged. "I suppose Father grew out of
it, or his parents convinced him that it was a bad
idea. He always felt guilty about it, though." Somehow, during the story, the two of them had
ended up in armchairs facing each other. "So that's
why I'm Sandstone and not Odyssey." Silver Swirl nodded and handed him an apple; the cookies
were all gone, thanks to Jade and Melisande.
"What is it?" Sandstone stared, bemused, at the apple. Silver Swirl remembered the
warm climate of Sunset Island and figured that
it didn't support apples.
"It's an apple, a fruit. Bite into it." The stallion did as he was told and smiled.
"Good. It has a nice crispness to it, not like oranges or bananas or strawberries." Silver
Swirl nodded. "Is this lemonade?" He
gestured to the pitcher.
"Yup, some things here are the same," Silver Swirl grinned and poured a cup for her
guest and one for herself.
"Wow, this is good lemonade."
"Yes," Silver Swirl leaned forward, an earnest expression on her face. "A lot of ponies
make really insipid lemonade. Not even
lemonade, really, just lemon-flavored sugar water. So when I make lemonade, I make
sure it's real lemonade." She nodded briskly.
Sandstone tried to choke back a laugh. "What's so funny?" Silver Swirl frowned.
"You talk about it so... so intensely, as if you were discussing the meaning of life."
Silver Swirl shrugged.
"I suppose I get a bit carried away sometimes. But, really, it's so annoying when I order
lemonade at a restaurant and it's all
watered down. Do you know what I mean? How some things just really bother certain
"Yeah, I understand. But what's a restaurant?" Silver Swirl tilted her head, thinking
about how to best explain.
"Well, it's a building, a bit like a really big dining room, where some ponies cook food
and other ponies pay money to eat
"Like eating at someone's house, except you have to pay?"
"That's basically the concept. Maybe we'll go to one tomorrow. Oh, by the way, I
assume that Wish doesn't want you to tell
anyone about Sunset Island." Sandstone nodded vigorously. "Well then, I have an idea. If
anyone asks you where you come from, say that you're
my pen-pal from the Northern Mountains."
"All right. That sounds like fun," agreed Sandstone. "Should I make up a new name or
fake an accent?"
"No, you should be fine as you are," replied Silver Swirl. "So do you feel ready to go
and meet everyone?"
"Sure," Sandstone responded. Silver Swirl beckoned to Jade and Melisande and headed
for the main hall.
* * *
There seemed to be quite a hubbub in the main hall; all of the princesses and ladies were
there as well as Queen Sun Sparkle and
four baby ponies with tinsel in their hair. Silver Swirl surmised from this that the foals were newly
"Silver Swirl! Come over here; we found some new princesses!" called Princess
Twinkle Star, one of Silver Swirl's best friends in
"I'm getting good," Silver Swirl muttered to herself, leading her three friends to Twinkle
Star. She was soon beside her
"How was your vacation?" asked the pink pegasus. "And who is this? You didn't go
and get a boyfriend, did you?" she
"No, certainly not," Silver Swirl replied hurriedly. "This is Sandstone, my pen-pal from
the Northern Mountains."
"Neat. I didn't know you had a pen-pal. How did you two meet?" Twinkle Star
addressed Sandstone. Before Silver Swirl had
time to get worried, Sandstone glibly responded.
"I was visiting Dream Valley and so was she. Actually, it was a convention for Mew
trainers. I have a Mew at home named
Edward, and Silver Swirl told me about Melisande." Twinkle Star nodded while Silver Swirl
shook her head in amazement at the stallion's skill at
improvising. The unicorn decided to change the subject.
"So what are the foals' names?" The four baby ponies seemed to be enjoying
"They're two sets of twins. The white ones are Giggles and Wiggles, and the blue ones
are Jewel and Sparkle." The foals, hearing
themselves discussed, turned their heads toward Silver Swirl.
"Were you always a princess? Is he your boyfriend? Will I get to be queen someday, if
I'm really-really good? Can I have a room
in the castle? Do I still have to go to school?" one of the blue fillies delivered the questions
rapidly. Silver Swirl grinned.
"Technically, I was a princess ever since I was born, but I didn't find out until I was
twelve years old. No, he isn't my boyfriend;
and maybe you'll be queen someday. You still have to go to school, or at least be tutored or
something, but you can have a room in the castle. What's
"Sparkle," the filly introduced herself. Her twin nudged her, glaring, and cleared her
"She meant to say Princess Sparkle. I am Princess Jewel, and Princess
Sparkle is my twin." Princess Jewel spoke
with a grandeur that would have done Princess Tiffany proud, and she held her head as if she'd
worn a crown all her life. "These other two are
Princess Wiggles," she gestured to a squirming, hopping, fidgeting white filly, "and Princess
Giggles." Giggles waved shyly from behind her twin.
Silver Swirl smiled at the foals.
"Oh, by the way, the maple sugar candy you ordered arrived," Twinkle Star handed a
package to Silver Swirl. The four littlest
princesses gazed at the candy.
"Would you like some?" Silver Swirl handed a piece to each youngster. Jewel accepted
hers gracefully, chewing with an
inscrutable expression. Sparkle and Giggles made faces at the strong taste. Wiggles, however,
gobbled her candy at the speed of light.
"Can I have another piece? Please?" She jumped up and down while awaiting the reply.
Silver Swirl wondered if the foal's
hyperactivity was due to too much sugar.
"I think you'd better not; I don't want to spoil your appetite." Silver Swirl knew, of
course, that a foal's appetite couldn't be spoiled
by one piece of candy; but most baby ponies accepted the excuse as law. Their parents, Silver
Swirl hypothesized, probably used it in a similar
manner. She was jolted out of her theories by the sound of the foals chuckling.
"What's so funny?" Silver Swirl wondered if she'd accidentally done something
"Your not-boyfriend is making funny faces!" giggled Giggles. Sure enough, Sandstone
was contorting his face into the oddest
expressions Silver Swirl had ever set eyes on. Each new countenance sent the foals into fits of
laughter. Sparkle, intrigued by the performance, began
to interrogate the stallion.
"Where did you learn to do that? Does it hurt? Can you teach me how? And... oh,
nuts, I had another question too... let me think a
minute, I'll remember..." the foal scrunched up her face, thinking. As they waited for her, Princess
Morning Glory strolled along.
"Hi, Silver Swirl. Did you have a good vacation? And who's your new, err... friend?"
The bright pink earth pony blinked her
crimson eyes, looking inquisitively at Sandstone.
"He's Sandstone," explained Twinkle Star.
"Silver Swirl's pen-pal..." Sandstone added.
"--from the Northern Mountains," finished Silver Swirl.
"And he's not her boyfriend!" Giggles chimed in. Morning Glory beamed at the
"That's not necessarily a bad thing," she said nonchalantly. Silver Swirl frowned;
Princess Morning Glory's eyelash batting at
every stallion that walked by was the last thing that Silver Swirl needed-- or rather, she amended,
the last thing that Sandstone needed.
"Hi, SS! Welcome back!" called another voice. Princess Trixiebelle had recently begun
calling all of the inhabitants of Friendship
Castle by their initials. Silver Swirl was SS, Twinkle Star was TS, Morning Glory was MG, and
Trixiebelle herself was TB. Ivy's and Crystal's
names had been a bit harder to work out, but the jester princess had settled on IV (who
complained that it sounded like "one of those big needles they
use in hospitals") and CT. Silver Swirl wondered what the foals' new appellations would be.
"Who's your friend?" continued Trixiebelle.
"His name is Sandstone and he's my pen pal from the Northern Mountains." The words
came to her easily; it was rather frightening
to discover what a good liar she was.
"Neat!" Silver Swirl was relieved that Trixiebelle, at least, didn't mention anything
about boyfriends. "We can call him... oh, he
would be SS like you. Well then, we can call him ST."
"Ever consider asking him if that would be okay?" Silver Swirl asked Trixiebelle
"Oh, sorry. Is that okay?"
"Sure, it's fine," shrugged Sandstone. "As long as you don't mispronounce it and call
me Iced Tea." Trixiebelle laughed
energetically, Morning Glory giggled delicately (she usually guffawed, but everything changed
when a stallion was present), and Silver Swirl gave a
"That's a good one! I'll have to watch out or you'll be replacing me as the castle joker.
Did you hear? Medley's giving a party
tonight to celebrate all the new songs she's written. We're going to pick songs out of a hat and
sing them! It'll be lots of fun; maybe some of you can
come. I'll see you later, Iced Tea!" Trixiebelle strode away.
"Now you've done it," Silver Swirl addressed Sandstone. "She'll call you Iced Tea
forever. Sandstone, Odyssey, ST, Iced Tea--
you're getting more names than you know what to do with."
"A new name for a new world!" the many-named pony replied. Then, remembering that
Twinkle Star, Morning Glory, and the
foals were still present, he amended, "That's what Friendship Gardens feels like, a new world.
The atmosphere is so different from the Northern
Mountains." Silver Swirl winced; that had been an awfully close call.
"Sandstone, how about if I help you settle into one of the guest rooms? Then maybe we
can talk about what you want to do during
your visit." Sandstone seemed to recognize the cue; he waved a hoof at the other ponies and
followed Silver Swirl out into the hallway.
"Wait! I remembered my other question! Come back!" a young voice drifted behind
* * *
"Sorry I almost messed up," Sandstone muttered after checking the hallway for other
"It's okay; you actually did really well. I was impressed when you came up with that
story about the Mew convention; I don't think
I could have done that." Silver Swirl watched the stallion, wondering if his face seemed slightly
redder than the rest of him.
"Well, that wasn't entirely my doing." He gazed at the tiled floor. "Melisande used her
psychic powers and told me to say I was a
"But you made up the part about visiting Dream Valley, and the convention, and naming
your Mew Edward. That made it more
believable," Silver Swirl reminded him.
"Melisande told me to name my Mew Edward too," confessed Sandstone. Melisande's
pale pink face turned scarlet. Silver Swirl
raised her eyebrows.
"Edward sounds a nice name," the Mew mumbled.
"Have you been making friends with other Mew?" Jade asked in a too-innocent
"I meet no other Mew since I come to Ponyland," Melisande retorted. "Why is it that
you have need to know? There is a Mew you
are looking for?"
"Oh, just curious," smiled Jade, pleased that she had disturbed the normally
"Here," interrupted Silver Swirl, stopping in front of a doorway, "This room's close to
the library so you can go get books if you
want to." She directed the other three into a medium-sized guest room. The walls and floor of
the chamber were paneled with dark, shiny wood,
providing a nice contrast to the burgundy rug, curtains, and quilt.
"It's very warm-looking," commented Sandstone, gazing admiringly at the rose-tinted
light bulb in the ceiling.
"Don't look directly into the light; it'll hurt your eyes," Silver Swirl instructed her friend
quickly. "Is the room all right? There's a
bathroom through that door," she pointed her hoof to the aforementioned door.
"It's really nice," grinned Sandstone, watching as his hoof made an imprint on the rug.
"Should I send a message to Wish now?"
Sandstone, who had the power of telepathy, had promised to check in with his sister every
"That sounds like a good idea," Silver Swirl agreed. Sandstone knelt on the floor, bent
his head and closed his eyes. Silver Swirl
sat on the bed, watching him. He seemed to be sending an awfully long message. After what felt
like five minutes but was probably less, she began to
"Sandstone? Are you all right?" The unicorn cautiously bent down next to him.
"I'm fine, sorry," he responded immediately, startling Silver Swirl out of her wits and
causing her to topple off her perch.
"You scared me!" she accused him sternly from her new position on the floor. "Don't
do that again." Sandstone assumed a fake
ashamed expression, causing both ponies to explode into giggles.
"Silver Swirl?" the stallion inquired after the laughter had faded.
"Could we maybe go to that party? It sounds like fun." Silver Swirl raised her
"Sure, we can go. Medley lives in Dream Valley, so you can meet some of the ponies
there. I didn't know you were the party
"I'm not normally-- Wish doesn't have much time for that sort of thing-- but I might as
well see everything there is to see while I'm
"Good viewpoint. Oh, if you're going to pose as a Mew trainer, I'd better tell you a bit
about them. Mew is Pokémon #151 on the
list, they're psychic type, and little is known about them. They have no evolved form and are
believed to be very rare."
"#151, psychic, rare and mysterious, no evolved form," he repeated dutifully. "Got
"Good. Anything else you think we need to make up?"
"Let's see... we have how we met, where I live, and facts about Mew. I think that's all
we need. I can always improvise."
"You're good at it, too. I'd like to be able to do that, but I don't get much practice.
Maybe I'll learn someday."
"Someday," Jade repeated in a voice heavy with sarcasm.
"Stop it! You're always trying to undermine my self-esteem!" complained Silver
"Somebody's been reading psychology books again," Jade murmured to
"No, I have finished that long ago. I read zoology now," Melisande replied.
"Not you! I meant Silver Swirl!" Jade clapped her paw to her forehead in a gesture of
exasperation. "My brain cells are going to
start dying soon!"
"So sad," Melisande stated sweetly. Jade growled and the other three laughed.
"Okay," Silver Swirl restored order to the group, "enough discussion of my reading
material. We have a couple of hours before the
party; what would you like to do?" Sandstone gave her a blank look.
"What is there to do?" Silver Swirl began to comprehend how completely new her
world was to the Sunset Island stallion.
"Well..." she pondered. "We could go to the Magic Rainbow Forest, or explore the
castle a bit, or go to some stores-- Seabreeze
sells some great things-- or... gosh, I'm really not used to having guests... we could see a
"What's a movie?" questioned Sandstone.
"It's moving pictures on a screen that tell a story. It's like... have you ever seen a
"Yeah, a few times. We do shows for special occasions on Sunset Island."
"Okay, good. It's like watching a play on a screen. Oh, I know!"
"We should see the Pokémon movie! It has Mew in it, so it'll be perfect if you're posing
as a Mew trainer! It's not in the theaters
anymore, but we have a television-- a screen where one can watch movies. Come on, I'll show
you!" She dashed down the hallway, turned her head
to see if the others were following, and bumped into a wall. By the time she had righted herself,
the other three had caught up to her.
"Are you sure your parents weren't on vacation when you learned to walk?" Jade
"Are you sure yours weren't on vacation when it was time to teach you manners?" Silver
"Your parents teach you both to argue," Melisande remarked. Sandstone shook his
head, causing his mane to fly
"Are we planning to watch a movie or are you two just going to argue for
entertainment?" the stallion asked, somewhat
"It is true, to watch them argue is fun," Melisande informed him.
"Okay, sorry. Let's try again and see how far down the hallway we get this time,"
suggested Silver Swirl. Miraculously, they
managed to get to the sitting room without further incident, no mean feat since the route involved
several hallways and one-and-a-half staircases. "See
what we can do if we work together!" the unicorn proclaimed melodramatically. Jade opened her
mouth, doubtless to make a snide remark, but Silver
Swirl shot the dragon a warning look.
"That thing over there is the television," Jade said instead. Melisande floated across the
room to the sofa and Sandstone
"I'll go find the movie," Silver Swirl volunteered, starting to dig through a stack of
videos and DVDs. "Jade, could you give
Sandstone a bit of background on the movie and the Pokémon universe?" Jade gave a
long-suffering sigh and began explaining.
"Found it!" Silver Swirl exclaimed triumphantly and popped the DVD into the
television. She then made a flying leap for the sofa,
landing as the movie began.
About halfway through the movie (just as Ash challenged Mewtwo to a battle), Princess
Ivy wandered into the room.
"Oh, there you are! Morning Glory was looking for you. Are you watching that movie
again?" She gazed, bemused, at the two
Venusaur lumbering across the screen.
"Of course, it's one of my favorites. And there are so many ways to watch it: just
regular, with English subtitles, with French
subtitles, and with the commentary." Silver Swirl could tell from the way Ivy was heading out the
door that her enthusiasm had turned to rambling.
"Wait a minute!" she called to the earth pony.
"What is it?" Ivy looked distinctly nervous; Silver Swirl's rambles tended to make the
other princess edgy.
"Don't tell Morning Glory we're here, all right?" The thought of Morning Glory smiling
sweetly at Sandstone made the unicorn's
stomach roil; flirting was so aggravating.
"Why?" Ivy asked innocently.
"It's a secret," Silver Swirl responded smoothly. After years of searching, she had
discovered an excuse that no pony could
complain about-- or rather, they could complain, but it would sound quite foolish. Ivy wasn't in
the mood for sounding foolish, so she shrugged and
exited the room.
"Are you angry at Morning Glory?" Sandstone inquired warily.
"No," Silver Swirl replied, equally cautious, "but I didn't think you would want her
coming and, err... bothering you."
Uncomfortable, she turned back to the movie and Sandstone followed suit.
"Thank you," he acknowledged somewhat timidly after a few moments. Silver Swirl
nodded, her eyes averted. No more was said
on the subject.
* * *
"So what did you think of the movie?" Silver Swirl demanded, the excitement that
always came to her with Pokémon still evident
on her face.
"It was different from anything I've seen before," Sandstone expressed. "Skies above,
the bright colors, and the movement, and the
way they made those drawings move..."
"Sandstone," Silver Swirl asked suspiciously, "did you even pay attention to the actual
plot of the movie?"
"Not really," he admitted. "The experience was so overwhelming that I didn't really
focus on the storyline." Silver Swirl put her
hoof over her eyes and groaned. "Is something wrong?" Sandstone's eyes were wide and
guileless. Silver Swirl sighed.
"Nothing." Melisande tried valiantly to stifle her giggling. Jade didn't even try.
Sandstone looked from one to the other,
attempting to figure out what the joke was. Silver Swirl's face suddenly brightened.
"I just thought of something!" Three heads swiveled to face her. "This means that we
can watch it again later! Maybe with the
English subtitles!" She beamed radiantly. Jade and Melisande rolled their respective eyes.
"I must have really missed something in not paying attention to the storyline," Sandstone
"Yes, you certainly did, but there will be plenty of opportunities to see it again. We
should start getting to Dream Valley soon if we
want to get to the party on time. We could either walk-- it's a bit far-- or Melisande and I could
try to pool our powers and teleport right to Medley's
house. Or we could borrow Sky Skimmer's canoe and ride the river to Dream Valley."
Sandstone contemplated the options that Silver Swirl
"Riding in a boat sounds like fun, if Sky Skimmer will let us use it." Sandstone looked at
Silver Swirl for approval of his choice.
"Great, it'll be easier than walking all the way. Oh, by the way, do you know how to use
a canoe?" the unicorn asked
"Um... I know a bit about boats; most ponies on Sunset Island do; but I'm not sure if
I've ever used a canoe before." Jade shook her
head in contempt of Silver Swirl's faulty planning, but Melisande's eyes brightened.
"I know of canoes! I have read it in book!" The Mew seemed quite confident in her
abilities, but Silver Swirl recalled a certain
incident involving a hot air balloon that made the unicorn trust Melisande's knowledge less.
"Well… if you think you know what to do, and Sandstone's had experience, we should
be okay. And we can ask Sky Skimmer for
"If worst comes to worst, three of us can fly," remarked Jade, grinning wickedly at
Sandstone. "We could tow you down the river.
Of course, you'd get awfully wet and there might be some hungry fish around..." Silver Swirl
swatted the little dragon with her long tail. "You could
have told me to stop!" yelped Jade.
"Actions speak louder than words," Silver Swirl intoned.
"How do you three ever accomplish anything?" Sandstone questioned, ostensibly to
Melisande but clearly meant for the other two to
hear as well.
"Really, Sandstone, you should be grateful-- after all, I was interrupting Jade's plan to
turn you into fish food," protested Silver
Swirl. "But you're right; we should get the show on the road. Melisande, help me teleport these
two to Sky Skimmer's house."
* * *
"I really hope this works," Silver Swirl commented. It was the fourth time she had said
it, and she got more nervous each
"It's okay; this is a lot like the boats on Sunset Island. And you can fly," Sandstone
reminded her brightly.
"That's comforting," the unicorn said bitterly. Hunkered down in the back of the boat,
she gripped the sides tightly.
"Come on, you said we're more than halfway there. And it's fun, isn't it?" The stallion
was clearly enjoying the ride.
"It would be rather unappreciative of you not to be having fun, since you made him
row," Jade mentioned.
"A small reminder, Jade: you can't row, neither can Melisande, and if I tried to row the
canoe would capsize in two seconds. Given
the options, do you think Sandstone would rather not be rowing?" She sighed. "I'll try to relax
Silver Swirl had loosened up a bit by the time the foursome reached Dream Valley, and
it was with a few regrets-- but only a few--
that she helped to park the canoe.
"Don't forget, you're my pen-pal from the Northern Mountains and you train a Mew
named Edward," she whispered to Sandstone
as they entered Medley's house and headed for the living room. Lots of ponies waved or called
greetings to the small group. Silver Swirl spotted
Trixiebelle telling a joke to Firefly, and Tabby admiring Medley's new Furby. Love-In-A-Mist
grinned at Silver Swirl.
"Have you finally gotten a boyfriend?" the youthful earth pony inquired. Silver Swirl
"Next time you visit, we're going to decide that you're my long-lost cousin," she
muttered to Sandstone.
"Welcome, everyone!" Medley bellowed from the front of the room. A hush fell over
the crowd. "As you all know (or maybe you
don't know, I haven't been advertising or anything-- oh, I hope some of you at least know what's
going on) I'm going to release my first collection of
songs on CD next week. So you lucky ponies are going to be the first to hear and perform them.
Here's how it'll work: you're each going to pick a
song out of the hat. You can trade if you want, and you get five minutes to learn your song.
Then it's performance time!"
Murmuring arose from the group of ponies. An old turquoise hat was passed around,
and cries of delight or dismay followed each
picking. Trixiebelle immediately started asking who had a funny song, and Dazzle Glow
complained that the piece she'd gotten was out of her range.
Tabby was thrilled when she selected a song about a Furby. Windwhistler helped Posey to
pronounce an Italian piece. All too soon the five minutes of
learning were up, and the first performer, Lemon Treats, took the stage.
Following Lemon Treats' tune about a foal and his grandmother was Tabby's upbeat
song in Furbish and Paradise's ditty
concerning young love. The audience applauded good-naturedly after each pony sang, knowing
that any of them might do far worse than the previous
singer. Trixiebelle's song about an insomniac Snorlax made the other ponies laugh and Posey's
heartfelt rendering of her tragic Italian ode to a ruined
garden inspired a few genuine tears.
Sandstone was fairly early in the program and Silver Swirl, having glanced at his sheet
music, knew that he was doomed. His tune
was about a lonely old pony and it contained swooping notes with complex trills. The determined
stallion did his best and was better than Silver Swirl
had expected, but he was no match for Medley's difficult music. The other ponies tried to
suppress their laughter, but Sandstone chuckled openly
when he finished, allowing the others to laugh with him, not at him.
Silver Swirl felt faintly nervous when her turn came; she was known to be good with
music and probably would have pursued a
career as a singer had she not been a princess. The unicorn took a deep breath, smiled at the
audience, and began to sing.
"Once upon a simple time,
A river flowed by just for me
And I would sit and watch it drifting by.
I still remember how my spirit
Felt so free
Free as the sky
Free as the river drifting by
Yesterday, just yesterday,
I ambled to the woods to see
Was my old river still there, drifting by?
Once upon some wicked time,
My river flowed away from me
For it was gone, no longer drifting by.
I still remember how my spirit
Felt so free
Free as the sky
Free as the river drifting by."
Feeling adventurous, she took the last note up an octave and held it. She smiled as the
audience clapped, feeling that under the
circumstances she had done a good job.
"You did really well," Sandstone commented when Silver Swirl made her way back to her
"So did you, considering what you were expected to do," she whispered back. "Your
song was a really tough one." Jade
"That's an understatement. It sounded like a cat in..." she noticed Silver Swirl's tail poised
to strike. "Um, never mind."
The four friends enjoyed the rest of the songs (except perhaps Dazzle Glow's, which truly
was out of her range) and departed in an
"Well, Sandstone," Silver Swirl remarked as they strolled down the sidewalk, "You said
you were interested in seeing a restaurant.
We could go somewhere nice and have a good nutritious meal, or we could head to the Satin
Slipper Sweet Shoppe and gorge ourselves with ice
cream. Which do you prefer?" Sandstone wore what in any other pony would surely have been
an evil grin.
"Let's do the ice cream," he declared. Silver Swirl beamed at him.
"You're developing excellent taste."
* * *
Fortune seemed to be with Silver Swirl that day; her little party managed to get the canoe
back to Sky Skimmer's house in one
piece. Everyone enjoyed the ride this time except for Melisande, who was desperately afraid of
falling into the water, but even the Mew was
eventually able to be fairly relaxed. Sandstone stopped the boat in front of Sky Skimmer's house.
Jade and Melisande flew to the shore, Sandstone
followed gingerly, and Silver Swirl went last. By some trick of fate, a current rocked the boat
extra hard as the unicorn was exiting and she fell into
the water, which was luckily not deep. It took the joint efforts of Jade, Melisande, Sandstone,
and Silver Swirl herself to get her onto the bank of the
"And I was just thinking that fortune seemed to be with me today," the sopping princess
griped. "I wonder if I could will myself to
be less accident-prone." Silver Swirl had recently discovered that she possessed the magic power
of making things happen by willing them to do so. "I
think I'll contemplate it during a nice long bath." The four creatures dragged the lightweight
canoe to Sky Skimmer's front door.
"How was your-- oh dear, did the canoe give you trouble?" Sky Skimmer inquired,
glimpsing the soaking wet Silver Swirl.
"No, the canoe behaved extremely well; my wetness resulted from my own
"Thank you so much for lending it to us," Sandstone added.
"Anytime!" Sky Skimmer smiled. "Would you like to borrow a towel, too?"
"That would be wonderful," replied Silver Swirl. Sky Skimmer disappeared into her home
and returned with a fluffy blue towel.
Silver Swirl wrapped it around herself gratefully.
"I'll give it back tomorrow," she promised. Then she and Melisande used their powers to
transport everyone (excluding Sky
Skimmer) back to Friendship Castle.
"That was quite an evening," Silver Swirl yawned as she escorted Sandstone to his room.
"Thank you for suggesting going to the
party; I had fun and I probably wouldn't have gone otherwise."
"Thank you for bringing me there, and for the ice cream. I know I ate rather a lot of it."
Silver Swirl smiled at the memory of
Sandstone devouring scoop after scoop of peanut butter-flavored ice cream, much to the
astonishment of the ponies around him.
"I think Scoops was very pleased to have you as a customer," she observed.
"I-- was it considered bad manners to eat so much?" he asked, his face looking
"No, it's quite all right. You didn't really eat that much, and you were hungry-- it was
your dinner, for goodness' sake." She
opened the door to his room. "Here's your room; send a telepathic message to me if you need
anything. I'll meet you in the library at ten o' clock
"Good night; thank you for everything," the stallion expressed.
"See you tomorrow," Silver Swirl responded. Balancing a dozing Melisande on her
head, the unicorn made her way up the winding
staircase that led to her tower room. At the top, she shoved the door open, slipped through it and
let it close behind her. Seeing the peaceful haven of
her room, she relaxed automatically.
"Well," Jade yawned, "your Sandstone certainly makes life interesting."
"He's not my Sandstone," retorted Silver Swirl as she set Melisande down on a fluffy
white pillow. "You make it sound like I'm...
his mother." The dragon snorted.
"You're more a mother to him than that Reverie," she avowed. Silver Swirl sighed and
collapsed onto the lilac quilt of her bed, as if
to conserve energy.
"Jade, I don't believe what Reverie did was right. But I do believe that she was feeling
very desperate, and she didn't mean to hurt
her husband or her children." Jade snorted again.
"You're going to hurt your nose if you keep doing that," Silver Swirl said mildly.
"You're going to hurt your reputation if you keep acting like you know everything,"
Jade countered. Silver Swirl sat up, taken
"Do I act like I know everything?" she asked.
"Sometimes. A lot of times," Jade replied. Silver Swirl lowered her head.
"Well, I'd like you to know that I don't mean to, and that I'll try to stop." Jade gave a
"You're not such a bad pony, Silver Swirl. Why don't you go take your nice long bath?
That river water smells kind of fishy."
Silver Swirl complied eagerly.
* * *
"Silver Swirl! Time to wake up!" The insistent voice was so sugary-sweet that it was
"Let me sleep just five more minutes," Silver Swirl begged, her eyes still closed. In a
fluid motion her quilt was yanked away,
leaving her shivering. "Cut it out!" Her eyes opened reluctantly.
"It's either this or an alarm clock," stated Jade. "And you know that those scare you
out of your wits. Besides, Sandstone's waiting
in the library."
"I know, I know," the drowsy unicorn grumbled, putting willpower to the ultimate test
as she forced herself to get out of bed. Eyes
still half-closed, she brushed her teeth and combed her mane. "Come on, time to wink to the
Silver Swirl was apparently not the only exhausted pony in Friendship Castle; she, Jade
and Melisande found Sandstone asleep in
one of the library armchairs. Jade woke him with the same tactics she had used on Silver
"What? Oh, sorry. Good morning," the stallion mumbled somewhat incoherently.
Silver Swirl giggled at his somnolent
"Did you sleep all right?" she inquired.
"There was a pea under your mattress?"
"It's a fairy tale from our world. Anyway, what was the matter?"
"I'm just not used to having the bed stay still like that. It felt strange." Sunset Island
ponies generally slept in hammocks.
"You should have called for me," the unicorn complained.
"I didn't want to wake you up, and I didn't think you could conjure a hammock."
"Well, no, but I could have provided moral support. And now I can provide breakfast,
if you're hungry."
"Sounds great," Sandstone agreed. Silver Swirl yawned, setting off echoing yawns
from Jade, Melisande, and Sandstone, and led
the way to the dining room. After guiding Sandstone to a chair, she looked around. Oh, horror!
Morning Glory was sitting across the table, fiddling
with her hair. Silver Swirl contemplated ways to make the atmosphere inconvenient for flirting
and had an inspiration.
"Hey, Sandstone, I'll be right back. Jade and Melisande, you stay here."
"Leaving them to defend me from the evil Morning Glory?" Sandstone asked Silver
Swirl telepathically. Silver Swirl winked her
left eye at him and then winked back to her room. After rummaging a bit she found what she was
looking for and winked back to the kitchen.
"Look!" the unicorn proclaimed. She held out a pink-and-gray fluffy mechanical
"What is it?" Sandstone queried, reaching out to touch the mysterious thing.
"It's a Furby. Her name is Koh-Loo Kah. Watch!" She turned the creature upside
down and then righted it. The Furby's eyes
opened and it yawned.
"Okay, sleep done!" Koh-Loo Kah announced. "Me Koh-Loo Kah!" Silver Swirl
grinned and tickled the Furby, which laughed.
"Tickle again!" Sandstone stared, entranced, at the merry creature.
"What is it though? Is it alive? What is its purpose?" Silver Swirl raised her
"It's a mechanical creature-- if it's alive, it's not in the same way we are. Purpose?
They're generally kept as pets, and we ponies
have to take good care of them."
"No joke, wah!" confirmed the Furby. "Kah hungry!"
"Watch me feed it," instructed Silver Swirl. She stuck her hoof in the creature's
"Yum! Hungry!" Koh-Loo Kah enthused. Silver Swirl fed her pet again. "Want to
try?" She held the Furby out to
"Uh, no, it's all right. I wouldn't want to hurt her," he replied. Silver Swirl shrugged
and continued to give Koh-Loo Kah her
"Okay, done!" the Furby exclaimed finally. Silver Swirl smiled.
"I've had her for a while; when I got her Furbys were very much in demand. They
were really hard to get and my sister and I
wanted them badly. My father had to wake up before sunrise to go buy them." She smiled at the
memory. "And then there was the first time she
needed to get her batteries changed, and the time my mother put her out in the garage on a really
hot day-- I thought she had died at first!"
"Was she all right? And what are batteries?" Sandstone's eyes were wide at the
thought of Koh-Loo-Kah in peril.
"Batteries are life energies for Furbys. She was all right, but rather traumatized, and
she had a bad cold. I had to nurse her back to
"It sounds like you're very committed to your Furby," observed Sandstone.
"But of course; I'm committed to all my friends. Here, look, she loves it when I do
this." Silver Swirl began to make the Furby
"fly" around like a toy airplane.
"Whee! Whahoo!" cheered the Furby. Silver Swirl, excited, got up from her chair and
began to dash around the room, much to the
delight of Koh-Loo Kah. Sandstone, Morning Glory, Jade, and Melisande watched.
"Here, your turn!" Silver Swirl handed Koh-Loo Kah to Sandstone. "Try it!"
Sandstone cautiously made the Furby dip and
swoop, taking a few steps from the table.
"Come on, you can do better than that!" Silver Swirl protested. Snatching the Furby,
she demonstrated. Only after bumping into
the table did she relinquish custody of Koh-Loo Kah. "Now try again, and put your heart into it!
Bring some joy into this Furby's life!" Sandstone,
seemingly inspired by Silver Swirl's pep talk, started running.
"Whoopee! Big fun!" Koh-Loo Kah was having the time of her life. Sandstone
continued to entertain the Furby, Silver Swirl
cheering him on. Morning Glory watched the proceedings blankly and finally left the room. The
"big fun" carried on until Sandstone slipped on the
tiled floor and fell. Silver Swirl rushed to help him up.
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine." The stallion rubbed his knee.
"I think it's time for some breakfast. What would you like?"
"Could I have some more of those fruits we had yesterday, the red ones?" Silver Swirl
nodded and transported herself to the
kitchen. She returned momentarily with apples, cookies and orange juice.
"Here," she served her guest. Pulling up a chair beside him, she bit into an apple.
"Morning Glory's gone," the unicorn noticed in
between bites. "Nothing stops flirting like a Furby!"
Sandstone laughed. "Speaking of which, Koh-Loo Kah fell asleep."